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Recognising volunteers who are engaging, joyful and team players

#Volunteersweek takes place 1-7 June every year. It's a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and say thank you. Focus Surrey would like to recognise the more than 380 volunteers who have been pivotal to the success of the Saturday club which has been running since September 2016.

Two outstanding volunteers who were recognised for their contribution to Focus Surrey at the Merton Partnership Civic Pride Volunteer Awards at a ceremony at AFC Wimbledon on Friday June 2nd. Louise Simon and Happy Sile Hu were nominated by Focus Surrey staff, parents and trustees for their contribution to the club. You can read their nominations here.

Louise Simon

Louise is a remarkable volunteer for her exceptional contribution to our organisation. Since joining Focus Surrey, Louise has become an integral part of our team, demonstrating impressive growth as a therapist and a dedicated member of our community.

Louise has volunteered with the charity since March 2018 when at 17, she was still in high school, supporting the club with facilitating play between the children. Since then, Louise has volunteered as a 1 to 1, as an administrator, operations lead, helped at fundraising events and more recently as a room lead. After finishing high school, Louise moved to Sheffield to study speech and language therapy (SaLT) and continues to support the club as an administrator when not in London. During the pandemic Louise took a year out from her studies to support the club again, and in our most recent term has travelled down from Sheffield to fill in and support when needed as well as volunteering remotely as an administrator.

Louise has excellent organisation skills, is a great team player and has utilised her speech and language training to support the club with social stories and developing Communication Boards.

One of Louise's most outstanding qualities is her selflessness. She consistently puts the needs of others before her own, displaying a genuine care for the individuals we serve. Her calm demeanour and positive attitude have been instrumental in creating a supportive and welcoming environment for everyone involved. Despite her accomplishments, Louise remains incredibly humble and modest. She works diligently in the background, often going unnoticed, but her efforts are invaluable to the smooth running of our club. Her dedication and hard work have not gone unnoticed, and she has become an essential and appreciated member of our organisation.

A fellow volunteer said: Louise provides answers even before somebody has a question. Louise has supported the club for many years and brings unique knowledge and is always available, even remotely. It is heart-warming to see how much dedication, support and love for the work at Focus that can come from only one person. Louise has shown just how big of a difference one can make in someone’s life. Especially as Louise has taken on many different roles in the capacity of volunteering, she has set an excellent example for other volunteers and continues to demonstrate how fun and important it is to continue to work with and for individuals with ASD. One outstanding feature of Louise’s many different roles and flexibility is how hidden the work sometimes is. Many of the tasks she does are completed behind the scenes, without many people knowing about it. This shows true passion and dedication. Louise has a good understanding of special needs and the need for inclusivity and acceptance. Louise is a great mentor for the children and volunteers alike and is very empathetic, taking time to tap into an individual’s motivations to really see how she can best support the children so they feel relaxed and confident and can reach their full potential.

Louise supports with anything she can (from dealing with forms and registrations, to doing face painting for the children, supporting at fundraising events or being a supervisor for volunteers). Her empathy shows up every time she speaks to the parents that come with their children to the club. Her energy matches the needs of the children... she can be energetic and run around tirelessly with some children who love it, but she can also be very calm and engaging through art or music if the child prefers these. Louise always manages to get the best out of the children whilst they have fun.”

Her knowledge in speech and language and experience working with children using behavioural strategies are extremely valuable for the club. Louise most recently became the club's youngest trustee. Louise is simply an essential part of the framework that keeps the charity going! This is Louise's voice about why she volunteers at Focus Surrey

Sile Hu (Happy)

We are pleased to nominate Sile Hu (whose preferred name is Happy) as a volunteer for his outstanding commitment and dedication to our organisation. He has only missed one day since he started volunteering in February 2022, volunteering for 3 terms from 9am to 4pm for 10 days a term as well as two training days each term. Happy consistently demonstrates his passion for making a positive impact in our community. Happy is engaging, joyful, and always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Happy travels in from Central London each Saturday to support the club. He has also volunteered at 3 of our SEN discos which run on a Saturday evening, meaning that on these days he is volunteering from 9am to 4pm and then 5.30pm to 8pm.

One of Happy's greatest strengths is his willingness to learn and grow. He actively takes on board suggestions and feedback from his peers and leaders, and works hard to implement the strategies and principles taught at the club in his sessions. This shows his commitment to providing the best possible service to those he serves. Furthermore, Happy is a true team player who brings positive energy and enthusiasm to every interaction. His contributions have been invaluable to our team, and we are fortunate to have him as a part of the Focus Surrey family.

One parent said: “Happy supported my son last term and he was absolutely brilliant. It was an absolute joy to see Happy and O enjoying their time together. Happy is a very enthusiastic and hardworking young man who puts in a lot of effort towards his work. We look forward to working with him again.”

Another parent said: “Happy always has a cheerful demeanour and is so friendly. He is really committed to engaging with the children and trying to find an activity they will enjoy. He is full of energy and enthusiastic. He was great at getting smiles and giggles out of my son and really helped with his engagement.”

Another volunteer said: “Happy brings to the club exactly what his name entices – constant joy and happiness to the children and other volunteers. You never see Happy without a smile on his face, which really helps children, volunteers and parents make the most of their days at Focus. Happy is reliable, fun and always ready to take on a new challenge.”

One parent tutor who volunteered alongside Happy, with Happy supporting her and her son, said: “He is a dedicated worker and will do whatever it takes to ensure the young person he works with gets the best experience. He is keen to learn from the experts and from the parents to get more understanding and from the parents about their children. I know this because he looked after me. My son seemed comfortable in his company/presence. He has this calm approach that gives even you, the parent that reassurance that your child is in safe hands. He is non assuming and does not impose, yet he exudes a quiet confidence that is reassuring. The first time Happy was allocated to my son (M) I got the feeling he was willing to give this everything he had. I would be happy to leave him with M again anytime and pleased he was paired up with M and the time they had together. From the little I learnt about him, I could tell that he is passionate about helping to work with children with additional needs and does not tire! I also have a feeling he will go far with this career.” This is Happy’s voice about why he volunteers at Focus Surrey which he wrote in 2022.

If you would like to volunteer at Focus Surrey in September 2023 email us at

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